How Under Armour accelerates and sustains omnichannel start-up success with performance management

Mark Wry, Senior Manager, Under Armour and Karen Warren, Senior Manager, Joshua Tree Group


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Abstract: In the last decade, retail and distribution operations have experienced the ever-evolving omnichannel demand of their customers. For many supply chain organisations, solutions for the omnichannel shift were implemented in existing warehouse space. By taking to the oars, the marketplace has been able to meet their customers’ omnichannel demand, but for how long? In many cases, operations have been retrofit beyond reasonable efficiency and without room for scale. Under Armour’s Baltimore distribution house experienced the same. The strategy for a distribution house start-up, designed with omnichannel in mind, became the clear path forward. Much like the omnichannel shift, facility start-ups have many unique challenges. As Under Armour prepared to open the doors of the omnichannel distribution house (ODH), a broader start-up strategy emerged. The distribution team elected to implement a holistic performance management programme, including leadership training, process improvements, engineered labour standards and labour management software tools. Performance management, while not commonly implemented at the beginning of a facility life cycle, would create a continuous improvement culture for the ODH team, establishing resilience to change and motivation to overcome obstacles common with warehouse start-ups. In this paper, we will share how Under Armour utilised this performance management strategy to overcome human and operational start-up challenges and accelerate success in their ODH.


Keywords: omnichannel; performance management; facility start-up; leadership development; teammate engagement; automation


Mark Wry is a Senior Manager within the Under Armour distribution house engineering team. He is a supply chain professional with experience in a variety of different industries ranging from high-end consumer goods to industrial chemical distribution. His background and professional interests have varied from lean manufacturing to continuous improvement initiatives, of which some ultimately led to multiple company firsts in capabilities as systems were designed in response to work done by his team. He is currently focusing on performance management implementations across multiple distribution houses in the North American region. Mark’s professional interests revolve around integrating systems thinking into supply chain design and continuous improvement. Mark has earned a master’s degree in systems engineering to complement his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. As a first-generation college student, he aspires to continue his studies with a systems engineering PhD focused on supply chain problems. Mark also enjoys mentoring other prospective first-generation college students who may be interested in STEM fields.


Karen Warren is a Senior Manager with Joshua Tree Group. She began her career in non-profit international development, with a primary focus on donor engagement and sustainable anti-trafficking programmes. In her role at JTG, she utilises her cross-cultural experience to influence organisational culture change in the supply chain and distribution warehousing marketplace. She partners with her clients to achieve success through operational process improvements, performance management programme design and implementation, and leadership development training. Karen has earned a BSc in cross-cultural studies from Toccoa Falls College. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and serves on the operational board for the Nashville CSCMP Roundtable.



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